Clinigen declares maiden divi after impressive stock market debut

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LONDON (ShareCast) - Clinigen, the speciality pharmaceuticals company which listed on the AIM market last autumn, saw shares surge on Wednesday after the firm reported a massive jump in first-half sales and declared a maiden dividend.

Sales soared by 86% from £32.7m to £61.0m in the six months to December 31st, while underlying profit before tax surged 54% from £6.3m to £9.7m.

Chief Executive Peter George told Sharecast that the company is "very pleased" with its trading performance in the first six months of the year after successful stock-market debut in September.

The board decided to declare the company's first interim dividend of 0.6 per share and said it is targeting progressive dividend growth.

Shares were up 11.21% at 234.65p by 11:12 on Wednesday morning, compared with the placing price of 164p.

George hailed "significant organic growth from all three operating divisions", but highlighted the standout performance of the Clinical Trial Supply (CTS) division, the dominant revenue generator of Clinigen.

CTS, which provides commercial medicines for use in clinical trials, saw an impressive 113% sales increase driven by its expansion into the US markets and new business wins. However, George did say that CTS's second half growth will likely not be as strong, though this is to be expected given the "lumpiness" of seasonality in the industry.

Meanwhile, the Global Access Programs (GAP (NYSE: GPS - news) ) division is on track to deliver three-fold growth this year, George said, after a whopping 222% increase in sales in the first half. GAP provides early-market access to medicines before regulatory approval or provides drugs to patients after discontinuation or withdrawal. It currently is the exclusive supplier of 32 drugs across the world.

The third division, Speciality Pharmaceuticals (SP), targets niche, hospital-only, end-of-lifecycle drugs previously owned by large pharma firms, by acquiring or in-licensing them. The company's first product is Foscavir, acquired from AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN - news) in 2010, which achieved 22% sales growth in the first half.

Group cash and cash equivalents totalled £22.3m by the end of the half, up from just £5.2m at June 30th 2012.

Optimistic outlook

The company said that trading in the second half of the financial year has "started well".

George told Sharecast that he is confident that full-year sales would beat current market forecasts due to the strength in CTS, though expected margin reductions will likely mean that the bottom line would be in line with estimates.

He said that there is potential for good synergies between the three divisions, saying that "one plus one plus one is greater than three".